Project Overview

Our understanding of Common Era (last 2000 years) sea levels are derived from a variety of proxy relative sea-level (RSL) reconstructions that constrains the past position of sea level in space and time. These reconstructions have been used to inform global trends that have shown the response of sea levels to natural climate warming and cooling phases that encompasses the Common Era. Furthermore, when coupled with the global network of instrumental measurements from tide-gauges, they have highlighted the unprecedented rise in sea levels following the industrial revolution in the mid-19th century. However, significant spatial and temporal gaps remain with large areas of the globe poorly constrained (e.g., Southeast Asia). Improving our understanding of magnitudes, rates and driving processes of past sea-level changes will ultimately manifest to reduced uncertainty in future sea-level projections. 

Here, we are working towards improving our understanding of Common Era sea levels by developing new RSL reconstructions from a variety of intertidal environments and sea-level indicators including salt marshes, mangroves and coral micro atolls. Using state-of-the-art techniques in reconstructing sea level coupled with the latest statistical analyses, new high-resolution RSL records from the US Atlantic coast including Chesapeake Bay and New Jersey and Asia including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and South China, will help address the following outstanding research questions:

1. What were the magnitudes and rates of RSL change during the Common Era? 
2. What were the driving processes of RSL change during the Common Era?
3. Have sea levels in Asia responded to climatic variability similar to global trends?
4. Have sea levels in Asia shown a modern inflexion in RSL rate?

Funding Sources

  • Earth Observatory of Singapore

Project Years

2019, 2020

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The Team

Benjamin HORTON

Benjamin HORTON

Director, EOS



Principal Investigator


Daniel Friess, Department of Geography, NUS

Nicole Khan, Department of Earth Science, Hong Kong University

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